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Five pieces of advice I wish I’d known when I was starting out as an entrepreneur

Every week, I am honoured to be able to meet and interview some of the worlds’ most successful, charismatic, and knowledgeable entrepreneurs; all of whom have very different businesses for which the journey to their ‘end goal’ was not an easy, linear process.   And each week on the Good Luck Club Podcast, they offer their […]

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Every week, I am honoured to be able to meet and interview some of the worlds’ most successful, charismatic, and knowledgeable entrepreneurs; all of whom have very different businesses for which the journey to their ‘end goal’ was not an easy, linear process.  

And each week on the Good Luck Club Podcast, they offer their advice for free, they divulge their highs and lows and, like me, they want to be a driving force to support our next generation of entrepreneurs. 

When I started my first business at just 15 years old, I wish I had a network around me like I do now. But times have changed, and thanks to technology as well as a strong ‘give back’ culture within the entrepreneur community, people are more willing to give their time to help the next generation of founders and change-makers.

Even now, as 45-year-old retired and experienced businessman, I will always be incredibly grateful for the insights and ingenuity that my guests give me and my listeners. Not only do they make me a better mentor, but they also make me a better person and father.

Here are some of the learnings I wish I’d known all those years ago:

Your legacy is more important than your money – Patrick Lee, Co-founder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes 

The meaning of success is as unique as a fingerprint to each and every individual; for some it will be how many customers they have, or how many social media followers they gain, how many staff they employ or how big their offices are. However, the underlying theme of most people’s success is money. 

Of course, the reason we work is to pay the bills, to keep a roof over our heads and to ensure that our families can eat. But, even when we’ve fulfilled those Maslow-esque basic needs, we continue to want more. We move to the next step in the hierarchy, and once we’ve fulfilled those wants and needs, many of us still aren’t happy to stop there.

Being ambitious is one thing. Sacrificing your family life, your health and potentially your happiness for money is another. One thing Patrick Lee said which resonated with me in an extremely melancholic yet touching way was – ‘When you die, how many people will be at your funeral? Isn’t this more a measure of success than money?’

Ultimately, you can be the richest person in the world but if you have no one around you to celebrate this ‘success’ with, what’s the point? 

Feel free to fail – Hernan Zanghellini, Founder of Zanghellini and Holt

The associations that usually come with failure are ‘final’ or ‘the end’ but, in business especially, failure is integral to growth and learning. 

However, allowing yourself to be comfortable with failure is an incredibly steep learning curve and one that is usually met with tension and frustration. Of course, you spend an inordinate amount of time and money of a business venture that you love like a child, and to see it fail can be devastating. 

But each failure creates learning. Whatever mistakes were made first time round, you can learn from and avoid doing in your next attempt.

Be open to new experiences – Jordan Schlipf, Founder and CEO of Rainmaking Venture Studio

When setting up on your own, you usually do so to be able to really home in and focus on your niche abilities, skill sets and passions. However, don’t let your business objectives give you tunnel vision. 

Opening yourself up to a wide range of opportunities and experiences will help you to diversify your network, as well as potentially giving you tools and insight that you perhaps don’t already have which, in the long-term, may be a huge benefit to your business, product or service. 

Have multiple careers – Christine Gonsalves, Lawyer, Entrepreneur and Writer

Don’t be afraid of putting your finger in lots of pies as an entrepreneur. It’s not about being greedy or indecisive, in fact, by exploring a vast range of sectors, industries and career paths you’re going to enrich yourself with an enormous skill set and endless knowledge. 

At the end of your working life, what will matter is how much you feel you’ve experienced. Whilst having one successful business in publishing or automotive or finance is good, having experience in all three (and maybe more) will give you the joy of adventure which, as entrepreneurs, we ultimately seek. 

Start a business so you can be yourself – Chris Kyme, Co-founder and Creative Director of Kyme Chow

A lot of the time individuals or groups become entrepreneurs because they’re no longer happy working the 9-5 corporate grind. Or, they’re in a job that doesn’t give them positive experiences, so they venture out to find their passion and earn a living loving what they do. 

Another key reason why entrepreneurs switch paths from the office job is because they feel pushed into a corner and can no longer be themselves. And so, when you take the leap to be your own boss, take this as an opportunity to make the business work for your life, not the other way around. 

Make sure everything reflects you as a person, and don’t feel like you have to mould yourself or your brand to fit expectations.  

It’s not easy to start out by yourself, and taking the leap from the security of the 9-5 to the uncertainty of maybe or maybe not seeing money at the end of the month can be a terrifying prospect. But I hope these musings from other entrepreneurs help you to see that going solo will be the most rewarding thing you do. 

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